Gorakhpur (Uttar Pradesh), Jan 13 : Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath will offer the first ‘Khichdi’ at the Gorakhnath temple on Thursday to mark the festival of ‘Makar Sankranti’.
Yogi Adityanath, who is also the Peetadheeshwar of the Gorakhnath temple, will follow the tradition which will also mark the beginning of the month-long ‘khichdi’ fair that is held at the temple.
After the Chief Minister, the Khichdi sent by the King of Nepal will be offered to the temple deity.
This tradition of offering Khichdi to Baba Gorakhnath is centuries old and is celebrated with great joy and fervour at the Gorakhnath temple, dedicated to Guru Gorakhnath.
Yogi Adityanath reached Gorakhpur on Tuesday evening to take stock of the preparations for the event.
Lakhs of devotees from across Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, Nepal, and other states throng the temple and offer ‘Khichdi’.
Legend has it that Guru Gorakhnath had once gone to Jwala Devi temple, situated in Kangra district of Himachal where the goddess, Jwala Devi, invited him to dinner.
Seeing the ‘tamasic’ food (non-vegetarian) there, Gorakhnath said that he accepted only rice and pulses as alms.His request was promptly complied with.
Later, Guru Gorakhnath reached Gorakhpur situated on the foothills of the Himalayas and placed his ‘Akshay patra’ (bowl for alms) at the confluence of the Rapti and Rohini rivers, and started his spiritual penance.
People started adding rice and pulses but could not fill the Akshay patra.
The devotees believed it to be a miracle and ever since, the tradition of offering khichdi to Guru Gorakhnath began in Gorakhpur.
Makar Sankranti, according to the Hindu Calendar, is dedicated to the Sun God (Suryadev).
On this day, the Sun begins its journey from Sagittarius to Capricorn during the winter solstice, signalling the start of warmer days.
It is celebrated in many places with different names like Bihu in the East, Lohri in the West, Khichdi and Tilwa Sankranti in the North, and Pongal in the South.